A sculptor, Kate, recently widowed by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan, meets her own nemesis and finds a way forward.
Stephen Sharkey, a foreign correspondent haunted by the past, seeks sanctuary from his nightmares in the quiet of a northern English winter - but even here peace may prove illusive.
Stephen meets Justine, the young woman who is looking after his nephew, and Kate begins working with her new assistant - and discovers something unsettling.
Haunted by nightmares from his past as a foreign correspondent, Stephen is trying to find a new future - Justine may help.
As Peter insinuates himself into Kate's life and work, she is feeling increasingly uneasy.
Today, Stephen finds solace with Justine, and there is something sinister about Kate's assistant.
Kate and Stephen try to find a way forward after Ben's death.
A party brings Stephen face to face with Justine's father and stirs up a little jealousy.
Brutality may occur in even the most peaceful of backwaters.
Stephen Sharkey, a foreign correspondent is suffering from years of exposure to the horrors of war and random violence.
Seeking sanctuary from his nightmares, his abandoned career and his broken marriage, he accepts the offer of his brother's cottage in rural Northumbria where he can write a book on the representations of war - based in part on his friend and colleague Ben Frosbisher's photographs.
With her acute observations of human fallibility and strength, Pat Barker reveals both the catastrophic aftermath of violence and the enduring ability of people to salvage their life and find new ways of survival and a new sense of hope.